Empowering States and Cities to Resist the Trump Agenda

Map of the 50 USA states raised with clipping-path with the Indivisible Logo overlayed

In 2017, we saw the birth of an unprecedented movement that popped up in response to the horror of a Trump presidency. Inspired by the Indivisible Guide, hundreds of thousands of local activists started organizing with their neighbors and participating in our democracy. At first, Indivisibles focused on their Members of Congress (MoCs) and were able to achieve huge victories like defeating Trump’s attack on healthcare. Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen groups begin to branch out and take their activism to all levels of government, creating impactful change in their local communities.

Indivisibles across the country are turning to their state and local governments to effect change.

We have seen the sheer power of an activated constituency. And it doesn’t stop at federal representatives in Washington. We have elected officials making decisions on our behalf at all levels of government — from our local school boards to our city councils and state legislatures.

Indivisible groups have started taking the basic principles described in the original Guide that describe how to engage in the democratic process and have begun to apply it to their state and local elected officials. Indivisibles have realized that the more locally these tactics are applied, the greater the opportunity for constituent power to effect change. And through this activism, our groups have made meaningful impact in their local communities.

Illinois Defends Voting Rights

Since July 2017, Indivisible Chicago has been working to get Illinois to leave Crosscheck, a program popularized by Kris Kobach as a tool for voter suppression. In a huge victory and a first for Indivisibles, Indivisible Chicago worked with state legislators to introduce state legislation (SB 2273) to legislatively force the state to leave Crosscheck.

Through a year of advocacy around the state legislature, Indivisible Chicago has successfully shepherded their bill through the legislative process, getting it passed in both the state Senate and House; it now awaits a decision from Governor Rauner. With their hard work, Indivisible Chicago has shown us what is possible when Indivisibles take their activism to the statehouse.

California Collaborates Statewide to Fight the Militarization of Police

California Indivisibles have learned that the best way to engage in state-level advocacy is to collaborate with other groups across the state in order to share resources, divide labor, and reduce redundancy. They’ve formed a statewide working group with liaisons from each individual Indivisible group that work together on state legislative advocacy.

This year, Indivisible CA: StateStrong has deployed their coalition to engage in advocacy around several pieces of state legislation including net neutrality, offshore drilling, and gun reform. But the coalition has focused its efforts on a bill, AB 3131, that would bring accountability and transparency to decisions on the acquisition and use of military weapons by police and sheriffs’ departments. This bill is especially critical after President Trump revoked an Obama-era executive order that limited the types of military equipment that could be transferred to local law enforcement. Indivisible CA: StateStrong co-sponsored and introduced this legislation in collaboration with the ACLU of California, American Friends Service Committee, Anti-Police Terror Project, and the Friends Committee on Legislation California.

By working with partner organizations, Indivisibles have helped to move this bill through its first two policy committees and will be working across the state to continue to try to get the bill passed this year.

We are launching a state & local program to support our groups.

We are excited to announce that we are launching a state & local program to support our groups as they take their engagement to the state level! Our program will focus on two major goals:

  1. Demystifying state legislative advocacy and equipping our groups with the resources and strategies they need to take their activism to the statehouse.

Later this year, we will release a Guide (surprise surprise) that details everything our groups need to know to get started in doing state advocacy. We’ll bring resources to learn about state legislative processes and tactics for engagement. We’ll also bring toolkits about progressive policy implementation at the state level so that Indivisibles are well-equipped with the policy knowledge they need to lobby their state lawmakers.

  1. Directly supporting the groups that work on state legislative campaigns by helping groups coordinate and providing extra resources when available to make those campaigns a success.

As highlighted, some of our groups are already engaging at the statehouse by coordinating groups across the state for advocacy, but many are not. We will try to facilitate statewide coordination so that Indivisibles can leverage their maximum power at the state level. When groups have statewide coordination structures in place and are engaging in a coordinated campaign around a specific issue or piece of legislation, we will try to provide additional resources (e.g. policy explainers, communications support, etc) to help win campaigns!

Most importantly, this work — as all of our work — will be driven by our local groups. We are here to facilitate activism in the things that are important to our groups at the state and local levels. Our goal is to provide our groups with the tools and resources and structures they need to move state and local governments to the left. Together, we will exercise our constituent power to make states and localities a beacon of progressivism in this country. Together, we will win.

More From The Indivisiblog